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Women misinterpret health warnings on packaging
Smoking during pregnancy should actually be taboo. Because it is associated with many health risks for the child. Given this, it sounds more than strange that many Australian women only start smoking when they're pregnant. As the scientist Simone Dennis from the Australian National University (ANU) has now found out, this is apparently due to the warnings on cigarette packets that are misinterpreted by the pregnant woman.
Increased risk of asthma and mental illness
Smoking is unhealthy - there is nothing to be done about it. Accordingly, especially during pregnancy, women should avoid cigarettes to protect their unborn child. Because the possible damage is varied. Among other things, it is known that babies are born prematurely more often by smokers and later suffer from asthma more often. The risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases also increases. The mental health of the offspring is also at risk. Recently, US researchers found that children developed schizophrenia significantly later in life when their mothers smoked during pregnancy.
Warnings are meant to deter
But giving up smoking is difficult for many women. Therefore, drastic warnings on cigarette boxes are meant to deter and help smokers get rid of their addiction. However, this measure seems to do the opposite for some women. Because, as an Australian scientist found out in a ten-year study, the warnings are apparently quickly ignored or misinterpreted.
Women are afraid of heavy babies
Simone Dennis from the Australian National University (ANU) had spoken to a group of 16-year-olds who smoked during their pregnancy as part of the research for their book "Smokefree". The researchers hoped to reduce the birth weight of their offspring, according to the university. The reason for this assumption was therefore the warnings on cigarette packs in Australia, because among other things it reads that smoking can reduce the baby's birth weight. “The young women were afraid because they were small themselves. The worst thing that could happen to them was to have a huge baby. They had read on the packages that smoking can reduce the baby's birth weight. But of course that wasn't the warning on the boxes, ”said Simone Dennis according to the message.
The women interviewed sometimes smoked more than before, some even started pregnancy - in the hope that this would keep the child as small as possible. The supposedly clear messages on the boxes are therefore not enough to deter smokers: "It doesn't work straightforwardly that people are told 'Smoking is dangerous' and then stop it as soon as they have the information. People are creative when it comes to interpreting the meaning of a message, ”says the scientist. (No)